Carly Booth is aiming to capitalise on her strong start to 2012 as she searches for a second Ladies European Tour title at this week’s Allianz Ladies Slovak Open at Gray Bear Golf Course in Tale ski, golf and hotel resort, near Brezno, Slovakia, starting on Friday.
The 19-year-old Scot claimed her maiden victory in Scotland a month ago and has returned to competition after taking last week out to rest and watch her Argentinean boyfriend, Tano Goya, compete in the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
Booth said: “I didn’t actually play any golf last week. I played nine holes. I just wanted to rest a little bit. My hips been bothering me, so that was kind of seeing the physio for that and then I was in the gym a couple of times doing some exercises for my shoulder.”
She tied for 22nd in Germany a fortnight ago after holding a share of the lead following the opening round. On her form, she added: “It’s getting there. There are still a few minor things that I’m going to work on but that’s going to come. I’m feeling fine and trying to be positive.”
Having missed the cut last year in Slovakia, Booth is fully aware of the challenge posed by Gray Bear Golf Course, which sits in a valley within the Low Tatras Mountains.
The picturesque clubhouse at Gray Bear Golf Course, in Tale ski, golf and hotel resort
Playing the course will be a physical and mental test due to its demanding, hilly terrain and severely sloping greens.
“It will be tricky as the greens are very sloping and I struggled a bit with them last year. Not much has changed. I think they will speed up throughout the week if we don’t have any more rain.
“It was a little bit wet because they’ve had some rain but it’s one of those courses that can dry out very quickly. Overall the course is nice,” she said.
Conditions were warm and fine for Thursday’s Pro Am, however, the weather forecast for Friday’s first round features partly sunny weather in the morning, with the potential for scattered thunder storms in the afternoon and over the weekend, which could disrupt play for the third successive year.
Booth is joined in the field by recent event champion Anne-Lise Caudal, who won in Germany a fortnight ago, Carin Koch, Marianne Skarpnord, Gwladys Nocera, Lee-Anne Pace, Trish Johnson and Helen Alfredsson, among others in the €225,000 event, which features a €33,750 first prize.
Slovakia’s Zuzana Kamasova, who became the LET’s first winner from Eastern Europe at last year’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, will lead the home challenge, playing on her own golf course with her coach and co-course designer, Skip Malek, acting as her caddie for the event. She is joined by three amateur competitors from Slovakia: Emma Klimentova, Natalia Heckova and Carolina Cordieri.
There is also a large contingent of rookie players in the field, all of whom will all be hoping to continue the tournament tradition of welcoming first-time winners, following victories for Maria Hernandez and Caroline Hedwall in 2010 and 2011.
The 54-hole tournament gets under way with tee times running from 7.30am to 1.30pm on Friday and there will be a cut to the leading 60 professionals and those tied after 36 holes.